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Duncan Bell - Author

About the Author

Books by Duncan Bell

Dreamworlds of Race

Dreamworlds of Race

Author: Duncan Bell Format: Hardback Release Date: 06/01/2021

How transatlantic thinkers in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries promoted the unification of Britain and the United States Between the late nineteenth century and the First World War an ocean-spanning network of prominent individuals advocated the unification of Britain and the United States. They dreamt of the final consolidation of the Angloworld. Scholars, journalists, politicians, businessmen, and science fiction writers invested the Anglo-Saxons with extraordinary power. The most ambitious hailed them as a people destined to bring peace and justice to the earth. More modest visions still imagined them as likely to shape the twentieth century. Dreamworlds of Race explores this remarkable moment in the intellectual history of racial domination, political utopianism, and world order. Focusing on a quartet of extraordinary figures-Andrew Carnegie, W. T. Stead, Cecil J. Rhodes, and H. G. Wells-Duncan Bell shows how unionists on both sides of the Atlantic reimagined citizenship, empire, patriotism, race, war, and peace in their quest to secure global supremacy. Yet even as they dreamt of an Anglo-dominated world, the unionists disagreed over the meaning of race, the legitimacy of imperialism, the nature of political belonging, and the ultimate form and purpose of unification. The racial dreamworld was an object of competing claims and fantasies. Exploring speculative fiction as well as more conventional forms of political writing, Bell reads unionist arguments as expressions of the utopianism circulating through fin-de-siecle Anglo-American culture, and juxtaposes them with pan-Africanist critiques of racial domination and late twentieth-century fictional narratives of Anglo-American empire. Tracing how intellectual elites promoted an ambitious project of political and racial unification between Britain and the United States, Dreamworlds of Race analyzes ideas of empire and world order that reverberate to this day.

Political Theory and Architecture

Political Theory and Architecture

Author: Duncan Bell Format: Hardback Release Date: 20/02/2020

What can political theory teach us about architecture, and what can it learn from paying closer attention to architecture? The essays assembled in this volume begin from a common postulate: that architecture is not merely a backdrop to political life but a political force in its own right. Each in their own way, they aim to give countenance to that claim, and to show how our thinking about politics can be enriched by reflecting on the built environment. The collection advances four lines of inquiry, probing the connection between architecture and political regimes; examining how architecture can be constitutive of the ethical and political realm; uncovering how architecture is enmeshed in logics of governmentality and in the political economy of the city; and asking to what extent we can think of architecture-tributary as it is to the flows of capital-as a partially autonomous social force. Taken together, the essays demonstrate the salience of a range of political theoretical approaches for the analysis of architecture, and show that architecture deserves a place as an object of study in political theory, alongside institutions, laws, norms, practices, imaginaries, and discourses.

Reordering the World

Reordering the World

Author: Duncan Bell Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 22/10/2019

A leading scholar of British political thought explores the relationship between liberalism and empire Reordering the World is a penetrating account of the complexity and contradictions found in liberal visions of empire. Focusing mainly on nineteenth-century Britain-at the time the largest empire in history and a key incubator of liberal political thought-Duncan Bell sheds new light on some of the most important themes in modern imperial ideology. The book ranges widely across Victorian intellectual life and beyond. The opening essays explore the nature of liberalism, varieties of imperial ideology, the uses and abuses of ancient history, the imaginative functions of the monarchy, and fantasies of Anglo-Saxon global domination. They are followed by illuminating studies of prominent thinkers, including J. A. Hobson, L. T. Hobhouse, John Stuart Mill, Henry Sidgwick, Herbert Spencer, and J. R. Seeley. While insisting that liberal attitudes to empire were multiple and varied, Bell emphasizes the liberal fascination with settler colonialism. It was in the settler empire that many liberal imperialists found the place of their political dreams. Reordering the World is a significant contribution to the history of modern political thought and political theory.

Politics Recovered

Politics Recovered

Author: Duncan Bell, Richard Bellamy, Elizabeth Frazer Format: Hardback Release Date: 13/03/2018

Is political theory political enough? Or does a tendency toward abstraction, idealization, moralism, and utopianism leave contemporary political theory out of touch with real politics as it actually takes place, and hence unable to speak meaningfully to or about our world? Realist political thought, which has enjoyed a significant revival of interest in recent years, seeks to avoid such pitfalls by remaining attentive to the distinctiveness of politics and the ways its realities ought to shape how we think and act in the political realm. Politics Recovered brings together prominent scholars to develop what it might mean to theorize politics realistically. Intervening in philosophical debates such as the relationship between politics and morality and the role that facts and emotions should play in the theorization of political values, the volume addresses how a realist approach aids our understanding of pressing issues such as global justice, inequality, poverty, political corruption, the value of democracy, governmental secrecy, and demands for transparency. Contributors open up fruitful dialogues with a variety of other realist approaches, such as feminist theory, democratic theory, and international relations. By exploring the nature and prospects of realist thought, Politics Recovered shows how political theory can affirm reality in order to provide meaningful and compelling answers to the fundamental questions of political life.

The Idea of Greater Britain

The Idea of Greater Britain

Author: Duncan Bell Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 17/04/2011

During the tumultuous closing decades of the nineteenth century, as the prospect of democracy loomed and as intensified global economic and strategic competition reshaped the political imagination, British thinkers grappled with the question of how best to organize the empire. Many found an answer to the anxieties of the age in the idea of Greater Britain, a union of the United Kingdom and its settler colonies in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and southern Africa. In The Idea of Greater Britain, Duncan Bell analyzes this fertile yet neglected debate, examining how a wide range of thinkers conceived of this vast Anglo-Saxon political community. Their proposals ranged from the fantastically ambitious--creating a globe-spanning nation-state--to the practical and mundane--reinforcing existing ties between the colonies and Britain. But all of these ideas were motivated by the disquiet generated by democracy, by challenges to British global supremacy, and by new possibilities for global cooperation and communication that anticipated today's globalization debates. Exploring attitudes toward the state, race, space, nationality, and empire, as well as highlighting the vital theoretical functions played by visions of Greece, Rome, and the United States, Bell illuminates important aspects of late-Victorian political thought and intellectual life.